Yesterday I started transcribing a letter I wrote in April 1984 when I was 16 years old (here). I decided to ‘publish’ it (as it were) as part of ‘Teen Week 2012’, the theme of which is Words that Heal. This is the second instalment of my three-part letter. (Again I’ve done no editing, so you’ll have to forgive my 16 yr old grammar and prose! I seem – for example – to have completely forgotten to use punctuation in entire sections of this letter. Obviously I was on a roll!)
As it neared the end of January (1984) school started again – my final year! I was about 8 stone (112lb / 50kg) and by now had skipped two periods. My parents were very worried and demanded I eat breakfast so I decided since you use the most food up during the day I would have my main meal for breakfast – I did this for a week until my mum announced she wanted me to eat with the rest of the family.
At this time I used to do Jazzercise off (sic) TV each morning & had basketball training each afternoon & all weekend.
One day, as it happened, I had some stomach pains & came home from school sick – so as mum was at work dad took me to the doctors and he just happened to mention my weightloss – immediately the doctor forgot about my pains – he saw (when I had to lie on the table) all of the bones sticking out & could feel my organs by pushing down on my stomach (so he said). As it happened I was at least 9kg (20lb) under weight for my height of 5ft 9inches (177cm).
However, this seemed only to make me more determined – all that week I threw my lunch away at school – I lost another 3-4lbs (I’m not sure because my brother hid the scales). This came to a head that weekend, I had basketball training all weekend and on Sunday morning my parents and I had yet another disagreement about food, I told them (mainly in spite) that I had lost more weight – this caused apparently great distress to my dad, he has a very bad heart and he was leaning over the kitchen sink & couldn’t breathe, mum wanted to call the ambulance, we didn’t know what to do – I went and woke my brother. We got dad onto the bed. He was finally alright, but mum and I were wrecks – I decided to quit my diet. I was apologising all morning – of course when I got to bball the first thing my coach mentioned was about my weight and I burst into tears!
It was alright for a while, eating again – but I can’t remember when it stopped – but it did – since then it’s never got back to what it was since my first STOP-DIET time, but I am forever yo-yoing from 8 – 8 1/2 stone.
I get better and eat for a few days, a week or so & then I slowly, often unconsciously cut down my meals more & more.
I think at this moment I’m in severe danger of getting to be worse than ever (mentally wise). I’m about 8 1/2 stone at the moment. And I keep meaning to cut down but don’t. If I eat too much I think, next week I start my diet – and I do until I eat a biscuit, then 2, 3, 4… and then it’s on – my head wants to blow up.
Maybe I should go back and describe my feelings. First of all, why I wanted to be thin – frankly thin is beautiful – I felt I would be beautiful when I was thin enough. I thought I would stop dieting then – I used to say ‘When I get to 9 1/2 stone…’ – etc till finally the scales don’t help – the scales say I’m at least 10kg underweight, the mirror says my legs are massive. My mum tells me my mind is warped – I can’t judge what is too much to eat or too less & what is too thin. I look at people I used to think were skinny and now think they’re fat.
Not being able to eat didn’t worry me for a while – then suddenly it did! I used to just go down isles (sic) of shops & decide what I would eat when I finished dieting. It was alright then – but suddenly I wanted to eat again! I’ve always loved food & wanted to eat. Part of me did & another part of me didn’t. Which brings me to another point – I feel that I’ve developed a very mild split-personality. One moment I realise I can eat & it’s alright if I put on weight & that it won’t all pile on & keep piling on, but suddenly (usually after I’ve eaten something) I change. I get immensely angry and the littlest thing anyone says sparks off the guilt feelings.
After I eat I absolutely hate myself – I feel so weak, inferior etc. When I did and refuse to eat junk I feel strong, powerful etc.
I’ll stop there for the time being because I want to talk about how I’m feeling now!
Note that I’m turning the comments off for these three posts.
Thanks for reading (and the feedback via Facebook and Twitter, to date) and I’ll post the third (and final) part of the letter tomorrow.